This week we’re looking at various areas to get organized in order to set ourselves up for a productive new year.
January is the perfect time to get ourselves (and our stuff) organized and ready for the new year!
Happy new year! I hope you enjoyed a joyful and peaceful holiday season.
In December we spent time looking at managing our stress by looking for ways to find joy in our day-to-day lives, and managing our time and (to some extent, our space) by following peace, and managing our lives by walking in love.
This week I want to talk about the value of establishing order in our lives, specifically with respect to managing our stuff, so that we can make room in our lives for joy, peace, love, and productivity.
What does it mean?
According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary: to get organized means “to arrange one’s things or one’s affairs so they can be dealt with effectively.” This is a great area to focus on for the first month of the year.
Where do we start the process of getting a place or an area of our life organized?
Start with identifying your expectations–what do you want from the space you’re organizing? Then consider purging before organizing–takes less time to effectively organize less stuff
Create a plan for maintaining the organization
Begin developing good habits–put things away; tidy small spaces regularly, etc.
Specific areas or categories to organize
1. Christmas – While it’s still fresh in your mind, do a little debrief about the holidays. What went well; what went not as well?
- Decorations – If you like how you decorated a particular space, take photos with your phone so you can remember next year what you did and why you liked it. Anything broken? Toss. Anything you haven’t used in the past 3 years, donate.
- Gifts – A place for everything!
- Purge – if you got new hair tools or kitchen equipment, donate or toss the old; same for clothes, kids’ toys, etc.
- Cards – decide whether to keep or recycle; scan or take digital photos of any cards or holiday letters that are particular sentimental for you.
- Photos – print and organize into photo albums or, better, collages you can frame and display; digital–keep the best and tag or organize into a folder for the holiday (e.g., Christmas 2022) so you can find and enjoy them.
2. Food (pantry, fridge, freezer) – If you did a lot of holiday cooking or baking, you probably have leftover food or ingredients. Even if you didn’t, this is a good time to reorganize your food storage. Sort through what you’ve got, check expiration dates, use it up before it goes bad, toss what’s expired. If you have unopened foods that are unexpired, put together a box of food for your local food bank. Clean and reorganize to make sure you use things before they go bad. While you’re at it, organize some meal plans for the next few weeks, to help put nutritious, tasty meals on the table with minimal waste.
3. Medications/vitamins – Check for expired and dispose of safely. The US Food and Drug Administration has a webpage advising how to dispose of various drugs and medications; they recommend the following steps:
- Remove the drugs from their original containers and mix them with something undesirable, such as used coffee grounds, dirt, or cat litter. This makes the medicine less appealing to children and pets and unrecognizable to someone who might intentionally go through the trash looking for drugs.
- Put the mixture in something you can close (a re-sealable zipper storage bag, empty can, or other container) to prevent the drug from leaking or spilling out.
- Throw the container in the garbage.
- Scratch out all your personal information on the empty medicine packaging to protect your identity and privacy. Throw the packaging away.”
While you’re at it, make a list of any you need to replace, including first aid supplies. Put together safe storage–thinking of this as we are required, as part of our foster care licensure, to store medications, etc., locked up.
4. Office/workspace (whether at home or away) – For the desk, organize the surface, drawers, and supplies. For all the papers, sort, scan, and shred. Review and update wills, powers of attorney, insurance policies, and emergency plans.
5. Money – Evaluate budget and savings plan and look at retirement accounts. Maybe it’s time to re-evaluate investments
6. Clothes – Sort and purge–you deserve better than to wear clothes that are worn or unflattering. Toss or donate. Organize your clothes for the current season and move out-of-season clothes. Consider trying the hang it up backwards, turn around when you wear method; anything not turned around by the time the season changes, donate.
7. Digital – For your passwords, change them and make sure they’re secure, complex, and unique. Consider a password manager like LastPass, 1Password, Keeper, or Dashlane. I’ve used LastPass for years but am re-evaluating due to a security breach in late 2022.
For subscriptions, what services, websites, blogs, etc., do you subscribe to? Evaluate whether you’re actually using them, whether free or not, and unsubscribe to those that don’t add value.
For your computer desktop, clean it up and organize for efficient and effective use.
For smartphone apps, clear out those you don’t use and make sure the ones you keep are up-to-date. Organize them in a way that makes sense to how you use them–most frequently used in the dock at the bottom, next group on the first home page; those used for my legal practice grouped together, etc.
8. Schedule – get things organized. Evaluate upcoming commitments, prepare or cancel as needed. Evaluate your planning routine.
Some final thoughts
Getting organized can turn into a project itself, but remember the purpose is to put things in order so they can be dealt with more effectively. Try to keep that in mind. Don’t try to do it all at once but instead take small steps. Don’t let it become an unconscious excuse to procrastinate the actual doing. Perfect organization isn’t necessary to live an effective, productive life.
What do you think?
Resources and Links
- TPW Mastermind information and online application
- Get organized Definition & Meaning – Merriam-Webster
- 6 Ways to Organize Your Life in the New Year – Sarah Titus
- 3 Things I Did to Get Organized for the New Year – Clean Mama
- 16 Clever Ways to Organize Hair Styling Tools
- password manager – Google Search
- Best Password Managers – 2023 Buyer’s Guide
- 5 Best Password Managers (2022): Features, Pricing, and Tips | WIRED
- Best Password Manager to Use for 2023 – CNET
- how to dispose of expired medications – Google Search
- Where and How to Dispose of Unused Medicines | FDA
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Royse City, Texas